Home Shooting Range

Anb618

Rear Admiral
Hessian
Belligerents
Dec 18, 2017
474
602
99
For those of you with a home range, anything you’d do different? Before folks waste their time, I’m not worried about legality or safety. I’ve already checked with local LE and I’m good to go on legality as long as I’m not charging for use/teaching classes as business there. Geography/elevation changes makes the location plenty safe once I add a little more berm. I have a few acres that sits in a bowl near a country block corner (roadways in all 4 directions move up in elevation, 3 of those sides are very steep elevation changes). Range would not shoot towards any roadway, and the nearest house in that direction would be well over a very tall hill.

I was out looking for shed whitetail antlers last week and found a location that is usually so overgrown that I’d never really inspected it before. Noticed a natural dirt drop-off/cliff face about 12-15ft tall and 30-40ft wide. It also has a slope/plateau all the way around that cliff face creating a U-shape around it where I should be able to get a skid-steer up top to build the berm up another 10-15 feet all the way around. The ground is relatively flat with an estimated 2-3° upward grade towards the cliff face, so it should be perfect for draining water away from the target area as it is. A quick bucket drag with the skid steer after clearing trees/brush to fill any low spots followed by a semi-load of sand and a semi-load or two of gravel should be sufficient. Probably underestimating how much I would need. Looking away from the cliff-face in the direction of the shooter, I should easily be able to clear this section of woods out for the entire width of the cliff face out to 25-30yds for handgun work, and I’m thinking I’ll make a small grass path for entry/egress of the range leading out to a 50yd rimfire platform which would butt up against my yard.

As usual, I’m already getting ahead of myself. ? I bought a bunch of 1/4” AR500 66% IPSC’s and 12” diamonds from a guy in the PX this week, and last night I ordered a bunch of MK Machining T-Post brackets to hang them. Thanks for the SH discount @Tyler Kemp . I already have plenty of T-Posts.

While I refine my plans, is there anything you wish you’d done different on your home range? Would love any ideas you might have. I know there are prior posts discussing this, but most threads are pretty dated and centered around shooting extended range rifle (obviously, because this is SH). New and established members with short home pistol/rimfire ranges and expertise to share would be appreciated!
 

bassmaster07

Private
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jan 10, 2018
180
66
34
Drive posts at exactly 100 yards or 100 meters to check scope tracking. Level dirt. Good level target stand at 100 for sighting in.
 

b2lee

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Minuteman
Dec 30, 2018
929
960
99
51
N. KY
1. Under your steel pistol targets....put a bucket or trough to catch the lead that falls down...so you can melt it down and pour more bullets....Makes less work than bending down in the soil.

2. Don't go crazy cutting all the trees and vegetation. Leave some...sometimes a nice wind break when it is below 30F keeps you on the range longer....instead of simply saying screw it and going back in.

3. If close to the house...run some power. LED lighting is cheap...Stereo....fridge....
 

Anb618

Rear Admiral
Hessian
Belligerents
Dec 18, 2017
474
602
99
1. Under your steel pistol targets....put a bucket or trough to catch the lead that falls down...so you can melt it down and pour more bullets....Makes less work than bending down in the soil.

2. Don't go crazy cutting all the trees and vegetation. Leave some...sometimes a nice wind break when it is below 30F keeps you on the range longer....instead of simply saying screw it and going back in.

3. If close to the house...run some power. LED lighting is cheap...Stereo....fridge....
1. I have always used jacketed bullets in the past, and thinking I may use a lot of frangible if I can find a reasonably priced source of loading components. Definitely a good idea to find a way to collect materials though.

2. I’ll still be surrounded by trees on almost all sides, so I’m good there. An excellent point. Realizing now because of this I’m gonna probably need to spend some good money on citronella torches. In the middle of the summer the mosquitos are probably gonna be pretty rough. ?

3. Power is an excellent idea I hadn’t even considered. Definitely close enough to the garage I could trench power out there; maybe 100 yards. Something to look at for the future for sure.
 

Anb618

Rear Admiral
Hessian
Belligerents
Dec 18, 2017
474
602
99
Drive posts at exactly 100 yards or 100 meters to check scope tracking. Level dirt. Good level target stand at 100 for sighting in.
Probably won’t have a 100yd setup officially. Just not in the cards for this property. Definitely something to look at for the 50yd rimfire line though.
 

Gustav7

Son of a Gun...
Hessian
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 18, 2019
396
194
49
Ohio (OH)
I technically have two ranges:

At my house, I have 175yds from my back porch to the base of my woods. There I have Railroad ties set in a wide V with dirt filling up to about 5ft. I'd like to move that set just into my woods and make the berm more like 7-10ft.

At my dads farm (1/4 mile down the road), set on the corner of his field I made a berm out of old tires with t-posts and fill and surrounded by dirt. This berm is about 5-6ft tall. Behind this berm is a 10 acre woods and 1.5miles before you hit any other home (google maps).

How big are you guys making your berms? I work at a tree service, so I also planning on bringing a big load of logs to help reinforce the back and cut down on the amount of dirt I need.
 

Anb618

Rear Admiral
Hessian
Belligerents
Dec 18, 2017
474
602
99
I technically have two ranges:

At my house, I have 175yds from my back porch to the base of my woods. There I have Railroad ties set in a wide V with dirt filling up to about 5ft. I'd like to move that set just into my woods and make the berm more like 7-10ft.

At my dads farm (1/4 mile down the road), set on the corner of his field I made a berm out of old tires with t-posts and fill and surrounded by dirt. This berm is about 5-6ft tall. Behind this berm is a 10 acre woods and 1.5miles before you hit any other home (google maps).

How big are you guys making your berms? I work at a tree service, so I also planning on bringing a big load of logs to help reinforce the back and cut down on the amount of dirt I need.
Figuring my berm could easily be made 18-20 feet from grade without much extra dirt-work. My starting with a natural earth feature should make that easier than for most people though.

My thinking is safe height depends on the type of shooting you plan to do and who you plan to have doing it. I spend most of my time shooting handguns. I’m looking forward to being able to shoot while moving and drawing from holster as none of my local ranges will allow it. Likely gonna bring some of my shift newbies out too and let them get some practice when they want to as well, so I’d like it as tall as absolutely possible.

Evening crowd have any ideas or thoughts?
 

Gustav7

Son of a Gun...
Hessian
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 18, 2019
396
194
49
Ohio (OH)
I'd love some natural berm, but my land is flat as a table lol. At my home I have 3 acres of woods behind my shooting pit, so really all i'm looking at is piling up wood and filing in with natural dirt.

At the farm, I shoot long range, so I'm more worried about missing the small berm. Although I'm confident that a ground burner or ricochet would not contact anything. Theres 1.5 miles behind the berm of nothing, 800 yards in front, about 1/2 mile to the left, and about 800 yards to the right...its literally in the middle of multiple fields. However, I don't have a ton of room where the berm is, so I'm trying to make it about twice as wide but as high as I can get it. I'm more picky about who shoots there as well, to reduce the risk of someone coming with an unzeroed gun and flying it high over the berm.

IF I had my choice I'd make a 3 sided square out of railroad ties and line the back with concrete blocks, then fill with dirt. Only issue with making a berm and pit out there is its 900yds from the road, and the lane is only a skidloader wide lol.
 

calamjn

Sergeant of the Hide
Hessian
Belligerents
Minuteman
Mar 1, 2018
162
69
34
Birmingham, AL
Drive posts at exactly 100 yards or 100 meters to check scope tracking. Level dirt. Good level target stand at 100 for sighting in.
Yep, this. 100 is a great exact known distance range to have. Really helps speed up sighting in process, scope track checking, and especially load developments. Then you can have serval other targets at random or predetermined ranges. Congrats should make for a fun range.
 

Anb618

Rear Admiral
Hessian
Belligerents
Dec 18, 2017
474
602
99
Getting started. Got the outline string-trimmed out, working on cutting all the shrubs and trees out of the interior of the square. Definitely going to be more dirt work than I initially thought (now that I can actually see the ground level with the undergrowth mostly gone). Lots of hills and valleys that need smoothing. I figure that just means more dirt to make a higher berm, so I’m staying optimistic and saying that’s a good thing.
7BDB1D91-956B-402B-B3AC-AC227B573E63.jpeg
 

Mach1pilot

Private
Belligerents
Feb 9, 2010
49
25
24
54
Ashville AL
I built a 435 yard range in my backyard... Its long and narrow, with trees lining both sides. Built a shooting deck with an upper deck for prone work. Depends on what type of shooting you like and design around that. A covered shooting bench is real nice, and I used fence posts, with pvc pipes with a cap to make range markers for distance. Even spent the extra pennys to do reflective as I do NVG work on it also. I have built plenty of steel plate holders, baricades, roof top simulators, loop hole practice boards, moveable walls for building shoot houses.. We kinda do it all on mine.

I would only add possibly power to my layout. I wish i spent a bit more time on working on the lane elevation as I have a hump in the middle, also I would work some form of water management. During the heavy rains in late winter, it gets muddy to get to the shooting platform. I am going to fix that in the long term with either some form of raised road or ditching. I would also have made my backstop a bit wider to use for more action pistol work. Right now i have to plan the layout of the shoothouse to have the shots go into the berm. ALso on my list of upgrades in the future.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Gustav7

Keel Haul

Private
Belligerents
Oct 25, 2017
384
299
69
Denver Colorado
1. Under your steel pistol targets....put a bucket or trough to catch the lead that falls down...so you can melt it down and pour more bullets....Makes less work than bending down in the soil.
Along that line I know a place that puts their steel into the middle of some tires and then the bullet remnants sit in the bottom of the tire and then they just use a shop vac to empty it out at the end of the day.